I know everyone wants to be hopeful today, and many are full of joy, as the 46th President of the United States is sworn into office, alongside the first female Vice President (!). I have to be honest; I always thought Hillary Clinton would be the first female President, but I am quite hopeful for Kamala Harris (She’s smart, strong, and incredibly likeable.) and her role in how we move forward as a nation, but I realized earlier today that I had ignored my own mantra for a while in my attempt to tune as much of this out as humanly possible.
My mantra has been, “Question EVERYTHING” for as long as I can remember. It’s a good mantra. I am not the most trusting person. I often wait for people to fuck up because it’s inevitable. But today, I can only hope the new President doesn’t fuck up royally. This country can’t afford any more screw-ups. We have to take care of our citizens and remember who our long-time allies are. Now is not a time to pick fights or look for war, because it’s all too possible the war we face is on our own soil.
Many of us are far too young to remember slavery on U.S. soil, Civil War, World Wars I & II, Pearl Harbor, or Vietnam, but we aren’t too young to remember 9/11, Saddam Hussein, Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, ISIS, or the constant crap pulled by Hamas, the “Palestinian Authority”, and other extremist terrorist groups. Let the record state, I feel it’s important to discuss terrorism on all levels.
As I listened to people I know talk about their views, post the incident at the Capitol Building earlier this month, I realized how sheltered many truly were regarding White Supremacist “organizations” and other documented hate groups that are alive and well, functioning daily in this country.
Growing up in New York City, I didn’t encounter a lot of these things (Jehovah’s Witnesses? Yes, on the regular. I’ve actually never managed to escape them wherever I’ve lived. Unlike my Great-Uncle, I have never felt the need to invite them in for coffee and a religious debate.), but I was always highly aware. I was the girl who was always writing, but I was also the person who wanted to become a police officer who would make detective, and then move on to the FBI. Law enforcement was something I believed there was honor in. My detective instincts are a natural part of who I am; ask any of my friends who’ve been on a bad date or had a guy mistreat them. I recently offered to do a background check on someone, and I wasn’t joking.
My awareness of hatred started way before kindergarten, and because I’ve been lucky enough to have certain opportunities, groups like the KKK are something I’ve always known about. I knew they had a plethora of fringe groups with similar ideas and ideals, and there are so many of them who recruit online, but I could never wrap the blind hatred around my own mind because nature versus nurture is a real thing. It’s also impossible to brainwash me because I truly do question everything.
Nancy Pelosi was one hundred percent right to call out the fact that many wore Neo-Nazi t-shirts. She referred to one individual in particular and called him a, “punk”. The truth of this statement was way too polite, but I was proud of her in that moment. I hate politics, but I respect people who can honor the wrongs and do their best to correct the hate we are seeing rise every day. I’ve never stood for hatred of anyone, but I always stand for truth.
If you lost family during the Holocaust, you would understand this feeling (seeing those shirts) in a deeper way. Jews were not the only people murdered. Hitler was insane and evil (Remind you of anyone?) and believed he was annihilating anyone who didn’t fit into his, “Master Race” image. The Nazi regime also killed their own people who would not help them (Many died by refusing to turn in neighbors, friends, etc.), Roma Gypsies, anyone who was disabled or ill, and anyone from the LGBTQ+ community they could find.
My cousins were freedom fighters during the Holocaust, putting themselves at severe risk. Whenever someone denounces it as being “a Jewish propaganda lie”, wears an offensive t-shirt, or accuses Israel of apartheid actions, I think of them, and wonder how many people are alive today because of them. How many people got away, immigrated to another country, and rebuilt their lives because of their kindness and fighting spirit? I will never know, but I do know they’re out there. I occasionally wonder where my fighting spirit comes from, and despite not being like anyone else in my family, I know I’ve inherited traits along the way.
The Holocaust is not the only mass genocide the world has seen; and many ignored it while it took place. Until the camps were liberated, we cannot ever forget that the United States turned people away on their shores, people who arrived by boat, and they did so by Presidential order. It’s not spoken about enough. However, the Holocaust is not alone in its horrors. It is not without equally disturbing stories which took place in other countries.
The Armenian Genocide came first, beginning in 1915. Turkey still denies this ever took place. As though a million people, possibly more, simply vanished. Many other countries have committed atrocities against their own people over the centuries, and it needs to be discussed openly and honestly. If I can’t shrug my shoulders about any of it, then no one else should get away with that type of behavior, either. It is not okay to denounce the horrors man has allowed. When I think about these things, it fuels me into a tunnel vision mindset.
Slavery was once rampantly accepted all across this country. It’s heinous. It is now synonymous with human-trafficking, and the darker undercurrents that many are blind to. I can’t close my eyes and pretend I don’t know about these things. I don’t want to ignore the history because if I do, then I’m just another ignorant person who is useless to this world and its betterment.
Overall, it would be nice to have hope, but seeing as how I’m always going to be myself ,and this lends to certain things, I can only say I’m going to be realistic. Because after the past few years, it’s truly all I’ve got to offer. Realistic honesty.
If you have hope, more power to you. I’m tired of all the division and hope it can be bettered, but again, I’m realistic and honest about change.
Here’s to 4-8 years with minimal fuck-ups.
copyright © 2021 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC.